October 14, 2013

Recognizing the Trade-Off, Part Three

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:12 pm by Rebecca Hein

When my traditionally-trained cello student told me that her fellow orchestra students who were Suzuki-trained couldn’t read music, I knew she was probably right. I’d been teaching Suzuki cello for several years and had been struggling to introduce music reading at the right time, and then to get those skills caught up with their technique, which was far ahead.

Until that conversation with my traditionally-trained student, I’d believed that Suzuki was superior, because a well-trained Suzuki student typically has much better technique than a traditional student who has been playing the same number of years. But traditionally-trained music students can read music.

Many excellent Suzuki teachers work hard to close, or prevent, the technique/music reading gap, but even with the best teachers, delayed music reading is built into the Suzuki approach and therefore will always be a pitfall.

So which is better: great music reading and so-so technique? Or great technique and crippled music reading?